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Strategies to score in TOEFL iBT Listening Section

TOEFL iBT Listening

TOEFL iBT Listening section is delivered immediately after the Reading section. You will be measured on your ability to understand spoken English in academic settings. Each part of the Listening section consists of 1 long conversation and 2 lectures. The test takers hear each lecture or conversation only once. They are about 3-5 minutes long. The allotted time of 10 minutes for each part is only for answering questions.

Useful strategies

  • Listen to English from multiple sources

Listen to English spoken movies and TV channels including radio. It would be even better if your passages are academic. The more your practice listening, the better listener you will become.

  • Listen for the main idea

This is usually found in the beginning of the listening passages, while the details are dispersed throughout the lecture. The main idea will give you an understanding of what the conversation is about.

  • Build your vocabulary

Try to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words from context. Write down words that you don’t understand and learn them.

  • Get used to different accents

There will be a variety of accents and pronunciations in your listening test. Hence, practice listening to people with different accents and pronunciation patterns.

  • Summarise in writing what you have heard

This will help you find the purpose of the conversation and help identify the main idea.

  • Practice note-taking

Write down the main idea, major points, important details and other things you find useful.

  • Take a guess

There is no penalty for an incorrect answer, so even if you’re running out of time, take a guess and answer all remaining questions.


Find this useful? Read our top strategies to score in your TOEFL iBT Reading and TOEFL iBT Writing.

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